The Blu-ray Disc and the latest 5D DVD

Posted on 01. May, 2012 by in News

Blu-ray Discs are the next iteration of the venerable optical discs. It was tipped to succeed the DVD and that’s going to happen sooner than later.

The Blu-ray Disc was developed by a consortium of blue chip companies that came to be known as the ‘Blu-ray Disc Association’ or BDA. The list of companies participating included Dell, Apple, HP, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, LG, Pioneer, Panasonic, Samsung, Philips, Sony, Sharp, Thomson, TD and a few more.

Larger Storage DVDs

A single Blu-ray Disc is capable of storing five times more data than a comparative DVD. Theoretically this works out to nearly 25 GB of data when you consider a normal DVD’s 4.7 GB capacity. The Blu-ray Disc can have either one or two sides. A double sided Blu-ray Disc has a capacity of 50 GB. This sort of capacity enables these discs to carry high definition media content in addition to normal data. A Blu-ray Disc is pretty similar to a normal DVD in terms of look and feel.

Technological Difference Compared to CDs/DVDs

While the storage capacity of a Blu-ray Disc is five times more than a conventional DVD, this has no impact in terms of physical size. Any player that can accommodate DVDs, can do the same for Blu-ray Discs as well. However, the difference between a DVD and a Blu-ray Disc player is that of the laser used. While DVD players use a red ray laser, Blu-ray Disc players use a blue ray laser.

There is a significant advantage in using a blue ray laser over a red ray laser. The wavelength of a blue ray laser is shorter (405 nm) compared to that of the red ray laser (650 nm). This means a greater level of precision with the blue ray laser. And with greater precision, each storage sector can be made smaller on the disc. This is the reason behind the high storage capacity of Blu-ray Discs.

Wide Ranging Support

The Blu-ray Disc format has garnered a lot of support that spans across different industries and companies. As per the BDA, a total of 170 companies have voiced their support for this technology. Media conglomerates, movie production companies, game developing firms and computer peripheral producers are among the supporters of this format. This level of support ensured that there was no shortage of Blu-ray players when the disc made its first commercial appearance. But owing to the high development costs and early stages of use, these discs and their players are still priced quite high. However, they are expected to come down in time.

Salient Features of Blu-ray Discs 

Apart from the large storage there are a few other benefits of Blu-ray Discs as well. For starters, Blu-ray Discs are better equipped to fight piracy. They employ a copy protection mechanism that will prevent unauthorized copying and distribution. This is in stark contrast to previous generation CDs and DVDs.

Blu-ray Discs are intended to stick around for at least 15 years, if not more. The industry will try and introduce all major improvements before the medium becomes widely popular. The developers of the Blu-ray Disc also claim the disc has a lower cost/GB ratio when compared to a DVD. This is in spite of the bigger storage size. Blu-ray Discs are also very robust against mishandling. Due to the presence of hard coating, a Blu-ray Disc does away with the need of a cartridge. This makes it very resilient to fingerprints and scratches.

5D DVD

A 5D DVD is an optical media that is quite similar to the DVD that is widely used today. Its development is being led by Peter Zijlstra, Min Gu and James Chon at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. As per initial estimates, commercial availability of 5D DVDs is about five to ten years away.

Principle Advantages of Current Generation DVDs

The reason why the 5D DVD is making so much news is its claimed storage capacity and the technology used. The writing system on a 5D DVD is based on the use of very tiny particles upon which all the data is written. This data is written in multiple layers and can only be comprehended by three different colored lasers. This compares favourably against normal DVDs and even BD discs.

The developers estimate this technology to yield a storage capacity that can well run into 10 TB. Now that is close to 2000 times the capacity of a normal DVD. Plans are afoot to make the 5D DVD backward compatible with existing DVD players.

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